I’ve said this before, but it’s fun to see your name in print at the bookstore.
At the risk of seeming self-serving, if you don’t have a copy of this issue, you really should get one. Besides excellent material from the usual Popular Woodworking Magazine contributors, there are articles by Marc Spagnuolo, Autumn Doucet, Don Williams, Jim Ipekjian, and Bob Rozaieski that are just outstanding.
Gyokucho 372 rip dozuki, working its way through the same piece of red oak that made its appearance earlier.
Japanese saw geek content: this saw is not a true rip dozuki. The Gyokucho 372 has teeth that looks like crosscut teeth, but with interspersing teeth that act like raker teeth, much like how a combination saw blade for a table saw that has flat top teeth and alternating top bevel teeth works. This saw certainly makes rip cuts faster than the Gyokucho 370, which is a true crosscut saw.
(For Taylor Donsker.)
This has been mentioned on the Popular Woodworking Twitter feed, but since it’s now on their website, it must be official.
I have the great good luck to be one of the speakers at this year’s Woodworking in America, which will be held September 12-14, in Winston-Salem, NC. I’ll be covering Japanese tools and how to use them in your shop, even if you never have used a tool that goes backwards.
I’m especially excited to see the other speakers: Roy Underhill, Matt Cianci, Phil Lowe, Drew Langser, and Frank Klausz have been announced so far. In fact, I’m flabbergasted that I’m in their company. This is going to be a great event, for sure.
I'm interested in giving Japanese saws a try. I know next to nothing about them. What saws (type and quantity) should I consider purchasing for typical hand tool situations such as ripping, crosscutting, and joinery work? Thanks!
If you’re starting out, I like the combination of a 210 mm ryoba, which will cover most furniture scale joinery tasks (dovetails, tenons), and a 270mm saw for making bigger cuts. I wrote a post a while ago explaining why here.
More skinny on sawplates
Mark Harrell, on the Bad Axe Tool Works Facebook page:
Seriously thinking about discontinuing the .015-plate gauge option for our dovetail saws. It’s just too thin to be practical. Though it excels at cutting stock between 1/4 and 2/4, once you venture into 3/4” territory, there’s just not enough of a heat sink there to deal with the commensurate friction in the cut: with friction comes heat, and with heat comes an expansion of metal and warping of the toothline. The .018-gauge plate is far superior while still yielding a whisper-thin kerf. Now there’s a lot of spilled ink on the advantages of a .015-gauge plate, but I have yet to see them, unless you keep your cutting requirement at 2/4 or below.
I have never had to deal with this as an issue. My feeling is that if there’s enough heat from friction when making a saw cut to cause the saw to bind, you’re doing something wrong. In the case of a thin plate western saw, a much more likely scenario is that the plate is bending because the thin plate can’t support itself during the push stroke, even with the support of the back in the case of a dovetail saw.
For a point of reference, I have two 240 mm ryobas, one handmade, and one machine made, and both have a 0.018” plate. My 240 mm rip and crosscut machine made dozukis have a 0.013” plate. My handmade 210 mm ryoba has a 0.015” plate. None of them bind in the manner that’s being described for thin plate western saws.
By the way, that’s a dozuki with a 0.013” plate working its way through a crosscut in a piece of red oak 7/4” thick in the picture above. I experienced exactly zero binding when making this cut.
(Thanks to Ben Lowery for the link.)
In reality, all else is never equal, of course, and the dynamics are surely more complicated than described here. Nonetheless, this way of looking at it at least gives some basis to explain my real world observations using many saws that, within limits, thinner kerf saws do not seem to give a proportionate advantage in cutting speed over thicker kerf saws.
Again, my argument is against this as an assumption that may be made by some when comparing saws. This is applicable in comparing among Western saws, and generally comparing Western with Japanese saws.
Rob makes a good argument for the idea that thin kerf does not equate to faster cutting speed where handsaws are concerned. I don’t think, however, that speed is where the advantage is for a saw with a thinner plate. Speed is probably more a function of tooth geometry and spacing, rather than the thinness of the plate.
The advantage of a thinner plate is that because you are removing less wood, less effort needed to make the saw cut that you want. And if you can get the same result with less effort, then there is value to that, even if you make your saw cut in the same amount of time.